How to climb a ladder safely

This may seem obvious – but so many people fall off ladders because they haven’t thought about the proper way to climb and work from their ladder.

1. Keep your body facing the ladder at all times, centred between the stiles (the uprights).

2. Don’t reach too far forwards or sideways and don’t stand with one foot on the ladder the other one on something else.

3. Move the ladder to avoid overstretching and re-secure it whenever necessary, however frustrating that might be.

4. Try to keep both keep both hands free to hold the ladder as much as possible while you are climbing or descending. If you need to carry any tools, use a shoulder bag, belt holster or belt hooks.

5. Don’t carry heavy items or long lengths of material up a ladder.

6. Hold onto the ladder with one hand while you work. You can get special trays which fit between the stiles to take paint pots, tools etc.

7. Wear strong flat shoes or boots with dry soles and a good grip.

8. Don’t wear sandals, slip-ons or have bare feet on a ladder.

Storing ladders:
1. Ladders should be stored in a covered, ventilated area, protected from the weather and away from dampness or heat.

2. Ladders can fall if stored vertically, so take particular care. If possible, secure the top (with a bracket, for instance).

3. Never hang a ladder vertically from a rung.

4. Don’t store a ladder in any place where a child might be tempted to climb it.

5. For storing horizontally, a rack or wall brackets are ideal. Keep wooden ladders clear of the ground to avoid contact with damp.

6. Don’t store a ladder on view outdoors where it could be stolen or used in a break-in.

Staying safe, free from injury and getting the job done properly is mostly about common sense – but sometimes people forget. If the basics of safety with ladders are known to everyone who uses them, far fewer people would spend time off work as a result of injuries sustained falling from ladders.